70% Maiden, 10% Angel Witch, 10% Mercyful Fate and 10% something of their own – this is the easiest way to describe the sound of Spanish old-schoolers Witchtower. Their debut EP from 2013 Return to the Witches’ Castle was praised and promoted by Fenriz on his radio show and deservedly so. Almost 7 years later, their third full-length Witches’ Domain is not just the best music they have recorded, but an early contender for album of the year. Perhaps this is partly due to the almost completely overhauled line-up, with only frontman and guitar player Victor M. de la Chica remaining from the last album. Even the cover artwork speaks of something really special.
Witchtower are not inventing the wheel here, mind you, and they never intended to. The second A Revelation, The Theosophist starts, it is total classic heavy metal worship all the way through the fantastic closing instrumental title track. You want harmony guitars? You have them. Fancy some ripping guitar solos straight out of the Adrian Smith book? Granted. What about some sinister melodies and melancholic atmosphere? Sure. It is really difficult for me to point out album highlights, but if you insist, then first single Over The Top (could be on any classic Priest record), Mrs. Artisson (with the spirit of Angel Witch reincarnated at the 2,30 minute mark) and Look For The Truth (a chorus to die for) should do. I just have to mention Victor’s enigmatic and so expressive vocals, which are without a doubt one of the elements which elevates Witchtower above so many of the bands in the style.
So, what if he isn’t singing at all? Well, clocking in at almost 8 minutes, the closer Witches’ Domain is like the bastard child of Maiden and Mercyful Fate – just beautiful. It’s a pleasure to listen to such class so soon after the mighty Angel Witch showed how it is done. Now, the new guard are picking up the glove with style. If you want to listen to classic heavy metal of real quality, done competently and with a great feeling for melody and structure, then look no further and enter the witches’ domain.
You can check Witchtower live at the Boston Music Room in London on February 15th